Friday, April 7, 2017

Goodbye Has Never Been My Strong Suit

I rarely say goodbye...I've rarely been in a position to say goodbye...My belief system allows for second, third, many as needed...chances to get things right.  A great deal of my life has been dedicated to people (including myself) who have made wrong turns, countless mistakes and repeated bad choices.  Much of my income has been earned helping those people embrace who they are and not beat themselves up for what they did, or didn't, do and to subsequently choose a new path, or perhaps just a less harmful path.  Goodbye and endings have never been my strong suit.

Talking, listening, showing, forgiving, waiting, working, trying new strategies, calling for help, seeking advice...basically staying in some sort of action has always been the better choice.  One thing I rarely do, is give up.  Endings are not my strong suit.

My sister said goodbye...I said goodbye to my sister.  Perhaps people think it strange that it's been more than 2 years and there is still a huge, hollow, aloneness that follows me.  I've tried, worked, strategized, called for help, sought advice, taken all the actions that I know in order to navigate this new territory.  Saying goodbye has never been my strong suit.

The past eight months have been spent learning the process of letting go.  I sought advice.  I talked. I cried. I waited.  I questioned.  I waited some more.  I looked for new paths.  I attempted to embrace everyone involved with compassion and understanding.

My belief system does not allow for holding grudges.  Which adds to my inability to say goodbye...there's always a chance.  There's always a chance that things will improve.  There's always a possibility that something will change.  My belief system looks for the good in what's happening rather than in what's wrong.  I look for the lesson rather than focus on blaming someone else for how I feel or behave.  I thank the Universe for sending the person to teach me what I need to know and learn.

One of the reasons my sister died was her inability to say put an end to things that were killing her.  Maybe holding on at her own expense was her stubborn pride in thinking she was strong enough to overcome, strong enough to manage, strong enough to not let that which was killing her...kill her.  Maybe learning to let go and say goodbye is something she and I both have not been good at.

Goodbye has never been my strong suit....Killing myself to hold on isn't a good idea either.

Monday, March 20, 2017

There Are No Words

I’ve never known a feeling so full or a place so perfect.  I want to write, but it’s indescribable.  Wordless.  There are not adequate words to describe what happens when his lips touch mine, when his hands touch my skin…when he’s inside me. No one does anything to earn this feeling…nor does anyone do anything to conjure it up.  It just happens. Unexpectedly and without effort.

It starts the moment I open the door and my heart stops.  For just the briefest of seconds, the world stands still.  It sounds so cliché…a 1950’s movie in black and white.  Then, my heart beats, my eyes smile and he is in my space.  It doesn’t matter where that space is when he’s in it…a table, a car, a couch, a lake, a tent, a rock…as long as he’s in my space.

Shared time and space.  Doesn’t cost a thing and is worth more than any treasure.

I want to find words to  write what it feels like to sleep with him…but there are no words. It is the most peaceful, restful, perfect sleep.  The feeling of my head on his chest, or in his neck, feeling his warmth, his heart beat, his gentle snore...the length of his body completely against mine, his arm wrapped around me, his hand resting on my waist…there is no safer place, no more perfect place.  I sleep soundly and instantly.  It is perfection…free from any flaws and defects.  Whatever else may be right or wrong in our lives, this moment, right here, wrapped up with him is pure perfection.

His  hands are the stabilizing force for my shattered heart.  His mouth quenches an unspoken hunger for connection.  His body is a comforter for my fear.  Where he is, is where I want to be.  I crave him in a way that is extreme.  Thoughts of him consume me in my sleep and distract me in my days.  He is my first thought every morning and my last thought every night.

There are no words to convey how much space he takes up in my head and my heart.  I never thought this was real…that there was one person who could change everything I ever thought about love.  It is at once completely satisfying while creating an unquenchable desire. A feeling so big there are no words to define it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

If We Knew It Was The Last Time

I've been thinking a great deal about endings...the end of the year...the end of a book...the end of a life...the end of a relationship...endings.  

If we knew this was the end, would we do things differently?  If I knew this would be the last thing I ever wrote, would I write something different?  If I knew this conversation would be the last conversation with you, would I say something else? If I knew this was the last kiss, would I kiss you differently?  If I knew this was the last time I was ever going to have sex with you, would I do something else....more of something... less? If this was the last book I could ever read, would I still choose to read this book?  

They say endings are just new beginnings, but sometimes endings are just endings.  Sometimes there is no new beginning, no do over, no chance to speak again, read again, kiss again or be naked with a person again.  

So, if you knew, if I knew, this was the last word, is this what I would write?  If this is the last conversation, is this the one I want to have?  If that was the last kiss, was it a good one?  

Yes...this is what I would write.  No, that conversation probably wasn't the one I would have chosen to have if I knew it was the last one.  Yes, that kiss was amazing and even though I didn't know it was the last one, it was a good one.  No, if I had known that was the last time I'd be naked with that person, I would have made it more special.  A better place...a better atmosphere...a better ending.  

Yet, I know that when I speak to people I care about, they know for sure I care about them.  My family is sure I love them.  My friends are sure I value them.  I left my job today in good spirits and they know I enjoy it.  That last was good.  That last naked perfect as every time before.  Late at night, when the world is quiet, I know my kids are confident that I love them.  Late at night, when the world is not so quiet and thoughts scatter, my friends know they can call and together we will gather those scattered thoughts.  Late at night, when sleep won't come, and life feels anything but perfect, there will be memories of perfection and there can be confidence that one person out there in the world thinks that you are exactly perfect.  

There has to be endings.  But if we take the time to have true conversations, write the right words, kiss with our whole self, tell the people in our lives how much we love them, and show appreciation for perfection, those endings can be good rather than bad, peaceful rather than full of loss. 

I believe it's better to say all the mushy, ridiculous, goofy, girly, sentimental, over the top things rather than reach an ending and not have said them.  So, if these were the last words I ever wrote, then know that I love my family, chose the book, kissed with my whole soul and experienced perfection.  

This is an ending.  But just of's not the end of everything.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016


In 7th grade, by my calculations somewhere around 40 years ago, we took a field trip to the state capital in Sacramento.  Even then, I loved old things.  I bought a super old, ceramic medicine dispenser and a Vaseline container from an antique shop.  At age 18 when I got married, those items, an old thermometer and usually a candle have sat on the back of the toilet everywhere I've lived...which has been a lot of places!  I've raised five kids, had rambunctious boys in my house, had tons of people use the bathroom and that little antique ceramic medicine dispenser has been unscathed...until I lived with people who didn't respect me, value my things, or understand the meaning of memories in symbols.

Someone in that house broke it.  And left it.  On the ground.  Next to the toilet.  And never had the decency to say "Hey, Steph, I broke your thing on accident."  I found it..and I cried.  I picked up the pieces that could be put back together.  When I left, I brought the broken pieces with me.  In this apartment, the broken pieces have sat on the back of the toilet...with a candle, the Vaseline container, the old thermometer.  Today, for some reason, I decided to super glue it back together.  There are some chips missing, there is a huge crack, but it's as whole as it's ever going to be.

Two years ago today, a decision was made to turn off my sister's life support.  By far, the hardest, worst, most painful decision I've ever made in my life.  I broke that day.  And for two years I've been broken in pieces.  I may look like I'm not broken, but I am.  I may sit in the place I'm supposed to sit, where I've always been, but I'm broken.

What is the super glue that puts me back together?  There's a huge crack where my sister used to be.  There are chips gone that will forever be missing.  But what's the glue that puts the pieces of me back together?

Is this as whole as I'm ever going to be?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Less Than Perfect

Most people would tell you that perfection doesn't exist...but it does. I've felt it.  I've felt it so deeply that I was left speechless, without the ability to think and quivering from the sheer realization that perfection does exist and I just had it.

Knowing that perfection does exist, knowing that I will never again search for it because I've had it, what matters for me now is less than perfection.  I want the fight, the passion, the vulnerability, the rawness, the mess that anything less than perfection requires.  Perfect is wrapped up neat, tidy, not messy, not a struggle.  Perfection is easy...simple...not's purely perfect with no downside.

Having experienced perfection, I know what I want is the downside.  I want less than perfect.  I want messy, emotional, laughter, loyalty, vulnerability, friendship, passion...all the ups and downs that anything less than perfect requires.  

For ever, for always, I will have perfect memories.  I will smile when people say perfect doesn't exist because I know it does.  I will smell certain smells, hear certain sounds, see certain sights and know that perfect exists.

Last night as I walked away from the sunset, I looked back over my shoulder and saw perfection.  A beautiful, amazing and perfect picture.  I smiled.  A deep, from my soul, smile full of gratitude for having experienced this perfect sunset after a perfect day.  And I yearned for the moment of perfection I yearned for me.  I yearned for less than perfect.  I yearned for something that doesn't always have to be tidy and neat and perfect.  I yearned for the ability to be messy and say everything in whatever way it comes out knowing that being less than perfect is okay.  I experienced perfection last night...and it was perfect.

I want more than and less than perfect.  I want to be left breathless with wonder.  I want to be curious about what comes next.  I want to have the unpredictability that less than perfect brings.  Raw humanity...tears, struggles...the stuff that passion is made of...that's what I want to experience.

I want to sit at a table with someone I just met and laugh until tears come. I want to be so anxious to know more that even after five hours of non stop talking, there' still way more to say and hear. I want to be surprised by the shared imperfections.  I want my less than perfect self being welcomed by another less than perfect self.  This is the stuff that less than perfect brings.

I have been blessed to have experienced perfection and it is perfect.  More perfect than my wildest imagination.

I want more than and less than perfect.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Standing On The Edge - Part II

We were standing on the edge, looking at the wide expanse of the future in front of us.

'Take my hand' he said.  'Take a leap of faith with me.  Jump in.  Both feet. I got you.'

I took his hand, took one precarious step in his direction, then stopped.  I stood still for a moment.  I could feel the warmth of his hand, could hear the timbre in his voice saying "I got you". 

For the longest, that's what I wanted - someone who got me. Someone who chose me in every circumstance.  Now, here I was, being offered exactly what I'd asked for. No equivocations, no compromises, no games...just a straight up commitment to choose me every day.

'Take a leap of faith. I got you.'

I took his hand, took a step in his direction and then, like Lot's wife, I looked back.  I looked back to my recent past and realized there's a ghost lurking there.  There's a ghost of 'what ifs'.  There's the lure of perfection. There's the ghost of a different choice...a choice I'm still making every day. 

I could feel his hand, see his eyes meeting mine, feel his breath on my skin, hear his voice in my ear: 'I got you'.  

The sound of that was like a siren calling a ship to crash on her rocks.  It was passionate, enticing, surreal, and exactly what most people wait to hear. 'I choose you in every circumstance.'

I walked away from the edge, turned my eyes from the vast expanse of the future, felt the moment from the inside out.  I could feel the warmth of his hand, I could feel his breath on my skin, I could hear the sound of his voice in my ear, I could see his eyes pleading with mine...and could feel my heart beating to a different rhythm, could feel the sound of another voice, the lure of perfection, the embodiment of an ideal.  

I dropped his hand.  I moved away from the sound of his voice.  I found the sound of my own voice.  I felt the beat of my heart.  I heard myself say:

"I choose me.  I choose to look at the vast expanse of the future and take a path that makes sense to no one but me.  I choose to follow the beat of my heart and see where it leads."

But the ideal is not real. It's an idea I created in my head, willed to come true and know that perfection is just something to be enjoyed momentarily. Perfection happens...that I now know.  What I also know is that when love looks you in the eye and says 'take a leap of faith with me', you leap towards love.  You follow the beat of your heart as it learns to beat in rhythm with another.  You leave behind what if's and if only's and you move towards the vast expanse of your future.

So, I listen to the sound of my heart beat, recognize the sound of my own voice saying 'just breathe and trust the path you're on. Trust a journey you may not understand.'

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

When we learn the lesson, we say thank you and move on. 
When the season changes, we say thank you and move on...or...
We spend a life time giving and receiving gratitude.  

It's important to know the difference between people who are intended to teach us lessons, or see us through a season, rather than spend a life time with.  Sometimes we - meaning me - confuse the teachers or seasonal companions as life time people.  It's in trusting our gut when it says 'hey, you've learned all the lessons you can from this person'...or 'hey, the season is over, you don't need this crutch anymore'.  Listening to what my Soul needs versus what my body or material needs may be. 

Even though it can be difficult to tell the teachers goodbye, when the lessons are learned the purpose is served and it's time to say gratefully and graciously say goodbye.  Knowing that the lessons have prepared me to be a better woman for the lifetime people.  

When the season is over and it's time for a change, like cleaning out the closet, no matter how long the task is avoided, eventually it has to be done.  When the fit no longer works, when the comfort is no longer there, it's time to say goodbye.  You wouldn't wear a wool sweater on a 90 degree's important to know what is appropriate for the season and act accordingly.  

When my soul is too wounded for deep emotional connections, people come into my life to attend to the physical and material leaving me space to heal my soul.  There's no demand for me to give anything of my soul, my heart, or my emotions.  But when that season of healing has ended and my soul is ready for meaningful connections, the season for light and breezy is over. It's time to cuddle up, get close and get deep.  

The lesson people, the ones here to teach me something, can last a day, a week, six months.  Six months...six months of lessons learned. Maybe six months is a season and a reason...lessons learned, healing created, gratitude given. 

The season is changing, the reason is clear.  Thank you...thank you...thank you.  It's time to head for deeper waters.  Deeper waters where the surface waves don't have such an impact.  Deeper waters where a myriad of life sources are waiting to be discovered.  

If you're afraid of the water, I'd recommend not getting in.  My waters run deep.